from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Zoology A hard bony or chitinous outer covering, such as the fused dorsal plates of a turtle or the portion of the exoskeleton covering the head and thorax of a crustacean.
  • n. A protective, shell-like covering likened to that of a turtle or crustacean: "He used to worry that Sarah would age the same way, develop the same brittle carapace” ( Anne Tyler).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hard protective covering of bone or chitin.
  • n. in figurative use

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The thick shell or shield which covers the back of the tortoise, or turtle, the crab, and other crustaceous animals.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The shell of a turtle or tortoise; specifically, the upper shell, the under shell being called the plastron.
  • n. In Mammalia, the shell of an armadillo.
  • n. In Cirripedia, the multivalvular shell, test, or case.
  • n. In higher Crustacea, the shield covering the cephalothorax, sometimes separable into a cephalostegite and an omostegite. See cut under Apus.
  • n. One of the many hard cases, tests, or shells which are likened to a carapace, as those of certain infusorians; a lorica.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. hard outer covering or case of certain organisms such as arthropods and turtles


French, from Spanish carapacho.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French carapace ("tortoise shell"), from Portuguese carapaça ("carapace, shell"), of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)



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